In emails dated September 25, 2013 just a few days short of the October 1 Obamacare launch, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Deputy Chief Information Officer Henry Chao voiced the following concern:
Jon and Ketan – can you think about a better way to convey to the public when the site is not available? I am picturing in my mind all the major print and online publications taking screenshots of what is below and just ramping up the hyperbole about hc.gov not functional.
Let me know if you have questions.
First, have you ever heard anyone use the phrase, “the site is not available?” Obviously this is government- ese for “we screwed up.”
Second, now that Mr. Chao’s greatest fears have been realized with the screenshot seen around the world — BizPac Review is “ramping up the hyperbole” with our own screenshot display.
Most important, here is what we have learned:
An Obama Administration front-line soldier was mitigating how this launch disaster was going to be portrayed in the press involving 1/6 of the nation’s economy. However, he did not bother to inform the President or the President’s Chief of Staff about this small problem.
Furthermore, Chao was not concerned about disappointing, “The Little People.” These were the 30 million citizens without health insurance who were counting down the days to October 1 when they could log on to this “not available” website. I guess Chao forgot that was the whole point of Obamacare.
Which proves in matters concerning The Public vs. Public Relations, this gang’s priority were the politics of spin control — and at that too they have failed miserably.
So, if you are ever in need of two sentences that summarize the Obama Administration and Obamacare, Mr. Chao’s email to Jon and Ketan fits the bill.
But this is what Chao really meant to write to Jon and Ketan:
“Can you think of a better way to say to the public that the site is going down and we are taking President Obama, the entire health insurance industry, a huge chunk of the economy and the Democratic Party down with it? Got any questions?”
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